The World Cup break has seemingly done wonders for Chivas USA and the Montreal Impact.
Both clubs were in last place before the hiatus, and neither has allowed a goal in two games since heading into Saturday night's match at the StubHub Center.
Chivas USA (4-7-5) has posted 1-0 wins over Real Salt Lake last Saturday and San Jose on Wednesday to move out of the Western Conference basement. The club is now seeking its first three-match win streak since April 25-May 9, 2009.
"It was a rewarding three points and a shutout, because it's important to continue believing in what we do," coach Wilmer Cabrera told Chivas' official website in Spanish after beating the Earthquakes.
Montreal (3-7-5) still owns the league's worst record but can move out of last place in the East with a victory Saturday, although Chicago could overtake the Impact with a win Sunday. The Impact returned from a two-week break with a scoreless draw on June 25 at Vancouver before posting a 3-0 home win over Houston on Sunday.
"It was important after the break to get a point in Vancouver and important to have consistency and follow that with a good result," coach Frank Klopas said. "We have to build on this."
The players to watch for these teams are their star strikers - Erick Torres for Chivas USA and Jack McInerney for Montreal.
Torres is tied with Sporting Kansas City's Dom Dwyer for second in the league with 11 goals. He has scored Chivas' lone goal in each of the club's last three matches.
"He doesn't get too many opportunities during the game, but if he has one or two, it's good enough," Cabrera said. "That's where he's showing his quality as the top scorer with 11 goals."
Chivas has 53 shots on goal for the West's worst mark. No player besides Torres has scored for them since Marco Delgado on May 17 - a span of six matches.
McInerney scored twice to key Sunday's win. He has six goals in 10 games with Montreal, which acquired him April 4 from Philadelphia.
"He's a pure striker," Klopas said. "He might not do anything or he might not be involved in the buildup, but then boom. One opportunity."
McInerney could be getting some help since fellow forward Marco Di Vaio ended his seven-game drought without a goal by coming off the bench to score Montreal's third against the Dynamo.
Impact midfielder Justin Mapp played 30 minutes as a substitute after he missed two matches with a hamstring injury. Mapp has a team-high five assists.
Oswaldo Minda returned to the Chivas starting lineup Wednesday and played all 90 minutes after he represented Ecuador in the World Cup. Fellow midfielder Marvin Chavez is expected to play for Chivas for the first time since May 11 after he was in Brazil with Honduras.
Chivas debuted Nathan Sturgis as a substitute Wednesday one day after the midfielder was acquired from Colorado.
These teams have met twice. Chivas won 2-1 at home two seasons ago before a 1-all draw in Montreal last year.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chivas USA
- Montreal Impact
- Erick Torres